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We invite you to visit the historic La Cueva Farm, located in Northeastern New Mexico. Enjoy picking raspberries in the "You Pick It" Field, eat lunch in the Café La Cueva, and browse the many gourmet items in our Ranch Store. If you can't make it in person, you can purchase a selection of our most popular products in our secure online store.

keep reading to learn more about our history!



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Historic Overview

The history of La Cueva, and the land and building which constitute it, dates back to the territorial Days of New Mexico.  In the early 1800’s, the governor of the New Mexico Territory granted some 32,000 thousand acres out of the original Mora Land Grant (a grant of 827,889 acres), to Vincente Romero and his wife Josefa.  They are said to have slept, originally, in the small caves while tending his sheep and fishing in the streams and rivers.  It is said that he named the site La Cueva de los Pescadores (the cave of the fishermen). the name La Cueva still survives on maps.  The area is now a National Historic Site and is identified on maps and road signs as the La Cueva Historic Site.

By the early 1860s, a number of buildings were completed at La Cueva, including the Romero Hacienda, the Mission Church of San Rafael, the Grist Mill,  and the Mercantile Building and Corrals. 


Romero hacienda

The Romero Hacienda, built in the Monterey Peninsula Territorial Style, is a beautiful 8,000 sq. ft. adobe hacienda which acted as a social center for the territory around it, including Fort Union.  The original building was completed in the late 1830's, and the second story was added in 1863.  Much of the original glass, still in many of the windows,  was brought to the Hacienda on the Santa Fe Trail.  The adobe walls in the back provided the settlers in the area protection from Indian raids. A bell used to warn settlers of attacks is still mounted on the west side of the house.

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Mission Church of San Rafael

The Mission Church of San Rafael was built by the priests from Lamy and is one of the most photographed churches of northern New Mexico. It is recognized for its French cathedral windows, a unique detail in this small, intimate adobe chapel.

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Grist Mill

The Grist Mill and Corrals, made of adobe and flagstone, became part of a major shipping center for the livestock and agricultural produce grown by the Romeros and their neighbors.

It was here that tack could be repaired and livestock shod while one's wheat was being ground for flour. 


Mercantile Building


The Mercantile Building sold basic supplies to customers from around the area. Existing records from the mid-nineteenth century indicate up to sixty horse and ox drawn wagons were quartered at the ranch to deliver supplies to Fort Union and other army outposts in the area along with various farms and ranches.  This historic adobe building now house the La Cueva Ranch Store.


Vicente Romero

Vincente Romero was a man of vision.  The Acequia, which flows past the Cafe La Cueva and the La Cueva Nursery and nourishes the raspberry fields, was dug under his supervision and is a brilliant engineering feat.  It feeds numerous lakes on his original land.  He established the early water rights for the property, some dating back to 1835.  The property was left to his only son, Philip, who after completing his education at Princeton, returned to manage the ranch.  He lived out his days in the Romero Hacienda which still stands on the property today.  Over the following generations, the ranch was sold into many pieces. 

salman family

Years later, in 1944, Colonel William Salman, then director of the Port of La Havre, the major landing site for troops after D Day, asked his wife, Frances and his friend and business associate, Tex Grauer, to find a ranch where he could move his young family to safety after the War.  Most of his family were murdered in the death camps of the Third Reich.  They found the land at La Cueva, and the family moved in 1945 after Colonel Salman came back from World War II.  By 1950 Colonel Salman had reunited the five separate properties to restore the original Romero Land Grant of 32,000 acres.  Like Vincente. he loved the land, nurtured and nourished it, and integrated himself and his family into the community of Mora, Las Vegas, and northern NM.  

Colonel Salman had two sons, William and David, and a daughter, Frances. David managed the Ranch for 40 years and was elected to the New Mexico State Legislature where he was the Majority Leader in the House for over a decade. His legacy was a continuation of Colonel Salman's values: like his father he was a conservationist, and he sponsored legislation that protected the land and its resources. When he retired, his younger sister, Frances, took over as Managing Partner.  Frances continued to promote and protect the family values and land until it was sold in 2016.

Abell    Family

In 2016, the Salman Raspberry Ranch was acquired by the Abell family of Austin, Texas.  The Abells are involved in cattle ranching in New Mexico, Texas and Florida, and have been operating in Northeastern New Mexico since 1996.  They have owned the adjoining ranch land, also part of the original Romero land grant, since 2000.  Though the name has changed to La Cueva Farm, the goal has been to continue the same operations, traditions and community presence that the Salmans have built over the past several decades.